REVIEW: NOAH

Starring

Russell Crowe (The Nice Guys)
Jennifer Connelly (Hulk)
Emma Watson (Harry Potter)
Ray Winstone (The Gunman)
Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers)
Douglas Booth (Jupiter Ascending)
Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Madison Davenport (Sharp Objects)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Nick Nolte (Gangster Squad)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Jack Angel (A.I.)

Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)As a young boy, Noah witnesses his father, Lamech, killed by a young Tubal-cain. Years later, an adult Noah lives with his wife Naameh and their sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After seeing a flower grow instantly from the ground and being haunted by dreams of a great flood, Noah takes them to visit his grandfather Methuselah.Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, and Leo McHugh Carroll in Noah (2014)They encounter a group of people recently killed and take in and adopt the lone survivor, a girl named Ila. Ila is treated for an abdominal wound and will survive, but Naameh determines that she will be unable to have children. Noah and his family are chased by the murderers and seek refuge with the fallen angels known as the “Watchers”, in whose territory Methuselah lives. The Watchers are confined on Earth as stone golems for helping humans banished from the Garden of Eden. Methuselah gives Noah a seed from Eden and tells Noah that he was chosen for a reason. Returning to his tent that night, Noah plants the seed in the ground. The Watchers arrive the next morning and debate whether they should help Noah until they see water spout from the spot where Noah planted the seed. After a forest grows instantly, the Watchers agree to help Noah and his family build an ark.Emma Watson in Noah (2014)After birds fly to the ark, Tubal-cain arrives with his followers and confronts Noah. Noah defies Tubal-cain and remarks that there is no escape for the line of Cain. Tubal-cain retreats and decides to build weapons to defeat the Watchers and take the ark. As the ark nears completion, animals of various species enter the ark and are sedated with incense. With Ila having become enamored of Shem, Noah goes to a nearby settlement to find wives for Ham and Japheth but, seeing the settlers selling their daughters for food, he abandons his effort and begins believing that the Creator wants all of humanity dead. He tells his family that he will not seek wives for his younger sons. After the flood, they will be the last humans and there will be no new human generations.Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)Devastated that he will be alone his entire life, Ham runs into the forest. Naameh begs Noah to reconsider but, when he will not, she goes to Methuselah for help. Ila encounters Methuselah who cures her infertility. Ham, searching for a wife on his own, befriends the refugee Na’el. After it starts raining, Tubal-cain becomes angry that he was not chosen to be saved and incites his followers to make a run for the ark. Noah finds Ham in the forest and forces Ham to save himself, but leaves Na’el to die when she is caught in an animal trap. Noah’s family enter the ark except for Methuselah, who remains in the forest and is swept away by the rushing waters. The Watchers fight off Tubal-cain and his mob of followers, sacrificing themselves and ascending to heaven, their reward for protecting Noah. As the flood drowns the remaining humans, an injured Tubal-cain climbs onto the ark and solicits Ham, playing on anger toward Noah for allowing Na’el to die.Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe in Noah (2014)Ila discovers she is pregnant as the rains stop and begs the Creator to let the child live. Noah interprets the ending of the rain to mean he must ensure the extinction of humans and, against his wife’s protests, resolves that, if the child is a girl, he will kill her. Months pass, and Ila and Shem build a raft to escape Noah’s resolve, but Noah discovers and burns it. Ila then starts feeling labor pains and gives birth to twin girls. After Ham calls Noah telling him the beasts are awake and eating each other, Tubal-cain emerges and attempts to hit Noah. Noah and Tubal-cain engage in combat. Shem promises Ila that Noah will not harm their daughters and goes to stop him. He attacks Noah as Tubal-cain falls to the ground only to be knocked out. Tubal-cain eventually forces Noah to the edge of the raft, but Ham kills him with a dagger before he can shove Noah in the ocean. Noah picks himself up and finds Ila and the babies, intending to kill the children, but spares them upon looking at his granddaughters and only feeling love.Jennifer Connelly in Noah (2014)Upon exiting the ark on the new land, a shameful Noah goes into isolation in a nearby cave, making wine in which to drown his sorrows. Ham expresses disappointment for his father’s current state of unseemly drunkenness and nakedness before leaving his kin to live alone. Having reconciled at the behest of Ila, Noah blesses the family as the beginning of a new human race and all witness waves of immense celestial rainbows.Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Douglas Booth, and Leo McHugh Carroll in Noah (2014)There is a lot of brutal, gory, violent and disturbing content and some sexuality in this, none of it gratuitous. I recommend this to anyone not put off by it being based on a Genesis account or the fact that it takes liberties with it.

REVIEW: DREAM HOUSE

CAST

Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Naomi Watts (Shut In)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Rachel G. Fox (Spork)
Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Jane Alexander (The Ring)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)In 2007, Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) leaves his job as a successful editor in New York in order to spend more time with his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and their two daughters, as well as to write his own book. At first, the family appears to be happy in their new home, until they discover that its previous occupants, a mother and her two small daughters, were shot to death in the house. Public opinion has condemned the father, Peter Ward, as the person responsible, but there was not enough evidence to convict Peter in court and he was also deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. Ward has been recently released from police custody and Will begins to feel he is seeing Peter watching the house.Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)Will visits Greenhaven Psychiatric facility, where Peter has been held for five years. He learns that on the night of the murders, Peter was shot in the head by his wife Elizabeth, who had somehow grabbed the murder weapon in the moments just before her death. In recovery, Peter could not believe he had committed the murders and so he no longer believed he was Peter Ward. He chewed his own name off all of his identification bracelets/cards/tags, leaving only his Greenhaven I.D. sequence, which revealed Peter Ward and Will Atenton to be the same person.Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)Unable to believe this, Will rushes home and we see his home is actually run down and condemned. Peter visits his neighbor, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts). Ann had been a good friend to the Wards and never believed Peter was the killer. Returning to the house, Peter remembers he was on the phone with Libby when she stumbled on a burglar, who shot the little girls and wounded Libby. Peter attacked the gunman and Libby accidentally shot Peter.Rachel Weisz in Dream House (2011)Ann’s ex-husband Jack and the gunman burst into the now-decrepit Ward home. It is revealed that the hit man had been hired to kill Ann, but broke into the wrong house and chose to kill the witnesses. Jack shoots the hit man in the abdomen before staging the scene so it will appear that Peter has murdered again before burning the house down. Peter regains consciousness in time to fight off Jack and rescue Ann. As Peter and Ann make it out of the house, Jack starts up the cellar steps but is doused with kerosene by the dying hit man, and Jack goes up in flames. The house burns to the ground. Some time later, Peter—now back in New York City—walks past a major bookseller’s window and sees that his book “Dream House” has become a number one national bestseller.Rachel Weisz in Dream House (2011)The acting is good, the thrilling scenes are good enough and the plot confusion doesn’t spoil the movie whole after all.

REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

CAST

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)
Emma Stone (Easy A)
Jamie Foxx (Ray)
Dane DeHaan (Life After beth)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Felicity Jones (Rogue One)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Campbell Scott (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Skyler Gisondo (Vacation)
Stan Lee (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Michael Massee (Flashforward)
Max Charles (American Sniper)
B.J. Novak (Saving Mr. Banks)
J.D. Walsh (Two and a Half Men)

In 2000, Oscorp scientist Richard Parker records a video message to explain his disappearance. Later, he and his wife, Mary, are aboard a private jet hijacked by a man sent to assassinate Richard. The plane crashes, killing both Richard and Mary, after he uploads the video.Fourteen years later, Richard’s son Peter continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He pursues and apprehends Aleksei Sytsevich. Later, Peter meets with Gwen at their high school graduation ceremony and, insisting he keep his vow to her father, ends their relationship. Peter’s childhood friend, Harry Osborn, returns to Manhattan to see his terminally-ill father, Norman, CEO of OsCorp. Norman explains his illness is genetic, and Harry is at the age where it first develops. Norman gives Harry a small device he claims contains his life’s work. The next day, Norman dies and Harry is appointed the new OsCorp CEO.While working in an OsCorp laboratory, electrical engineer Max Dillon shocks himself by accident and falls into a tank of genetically-engineered electric eels. They attack him, and he mutates into a living electric generator. Meanwhile, Peter attempts to maintain a friendship with Gwen, but she reveals that she may move to England for schooling. Before they can discuss it, Dillon wanders into Times Square, accidentally causing a blackout, and is stopped by Peter after a battle. Dillon is taken to Ravencroft Institute, where he is studied by German scientist Dr. Kafka. Meanwhile, the first symptoms of Harry’s illness are showing, and he uses the device Norman gave him to deduce that Spider-Man’s blood could help save him. He asks Peter, who has been selling photos of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle, to aid him in finding Spider-Man. Peter refuses, unsure of what effects the transfusion would have. Although he later comes to Harry as Spider-Man, he still refuses, and Harry develops an intense hatred towards Spider-Man. The OsCorp board-members, in particular the vice-president, Donald Menken, frame Harry for covering up Dillon’s accident, remove him as CEO, overthrow him and take control of Oscorp. Harry’s assistant, Felicia Hardy, informs him of equipment that could help him, so he makes a deal with Dillon, who now calls himself “Electro,” to get him back inside the OsCorp building. There he finds a suit of armour and other equipment made by Norman, as well as venom from the now-destroyed genetically-altered spiders. The venom accelerates Harry’s illness and transforms him into a goblin-like creature, but the suit’s built-in emergency protocol restores his health and cures his disease.Peter uses information left by his father to locate the video message in an abandoned subway station’s hidden lab. Richard explains he had to leave because he refused to cooperate with Norman’s biogenetic weaponization plans. Peter then hears a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she was offered the British scholarship and is heading to the airport earlier than expected. He manages to catch her and professes his love for her, and, vowing to go wherever she goes, they agree to go to England together. Electro causes another blackout, and Peter heads off to fight him as Spider-Man. Gwen follows, and together they restore power and overload Electro’s body, killing him.The transformed Harry, who now calls himself “Green Goblin”, arrives equipped with Norman’s armor and weaponry. Upon seeing Gwen, he deduces Spider-Man’s secret identity and, swearing revenge for being refused the blood transfusion, kidnaps her and takes her to the top of a clock tower. Peter manages to defeat the Green Goblin, but his webbing breaks during the battle and Gwen falls to her death. Peter, depressed and distraught, mourns over Gwen’s death and ends his career as Spider-Man. Five months later, Harry is coping with the aftereffects of his transformation while incarcerated at Ravencroft. His associate, Gustav Fiers, visits Harry and the pair discuss forming their own team. Harry orders Fiers to start with Sytsevich. Later an unknown team of men break Sytsevich out of prison. Equipped with electromechanical suit armor, Sytsevich calls himself the Rhino and rampages through the streets. Peter, inspired by Gwen’s graduation speech, resumes his role as Spider-Man and confronts him.The Amazing Spider-Man 2 nearly earns an honest emotional response over this pairing. The writing could be better, but Garfield and Stone do an excellent job selling their roles and this movie. I am a big fan of Stone, and she elevates Garfield’s already solid performance. Webb does not quite find the balance between this drama and spectacle, and the film understandably includes a number of rollicking action sequences. The visual effects are strong, but the bullet-time slow motion feels a bit stale. There is a lot of flash to these bits, but not much substance. This is an entertaining film that could be better.

REVIEW: TIMELINE

CAST

Paul Walker (Into The Blue)
Frances O’Connor (A.I.)
Gerard Butler (300)
Billy Connolly (The Man Who Sued God)
David Thewlis (The Theory of Everything)
Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Marton Csokas (Xena)
Rossif Sutherland (Reign)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)

Matt Craven (Sharp Objects)
Amy Sloan (The Heartbreak Kid)

MV5BMjE5MDYzMTQ5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjUzMzE3._V1_A directorial effort from Richard Donner (“Goonies”) is an adaptation of the Michael Crichton novel, where a machine that allows items (or even people) to be faxed from one place to another. Unfortunately, instead of sending things across the room or down the street, the wormhole has sent the objects back in time – to 1357 in Castlegard, France – right before a war is about to begin. Professor Edward Johnston (Billy Connolly) is revealed to have been the test subjec”, and is stuck in the past. It’s up to his son Chris (Paul Walker), Kate Erickson (Frances O’Connor), Andre Marek (Gerard Butler), Francois Nolastnamegiven(Rossif Sutherland) and a couple of soldiers to save the professor.

I do appreciate that the film’s big action scenes seem to have been done without the aid of much in the way of effects, but with character development running so low and performances so average (not to mention dialogue being weak), it’s difficult to be that involved with any of it.

MV5BMTI1NjAxODI0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODUzMzE3._V1_

Timeline does have a moment or two (the bigger action sequences are technically well-staged) and a several moments that are so goofy as to be entertaining, but the film’s 116-minute running time is mainly good for pondering the kind of picture that could have been if more care had been taken with casting and the screenplay.